Anyone so new they don't even have a radio yet?

Started by White Tiger, September 27, 2012, 03:30:54 am

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White Tiger

Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 12:07:14 am
Thanks.  The antennas can be high and the map shows I should have line of sight.  I will need a radio at each end just to get started.  I figured HTs could be a starting point and then be either handed down to other family members or placed in vehicles.  So it now sounds like I need two base stations to establish the link I want.  The MFJ-9402 was recommended.  If I have one of those at each end I would think there would be no problem with a repeater and I might get a Simplex connection, or I might need to work with antennas to get things working right.

If that sounds right to the folks here, then I would consider buying one now, listening while I am studying for the test, then buying the other and setting the second location and testing.  Does this make sense?
I think using a 2m HT is a good approach just for local/2-3 mile range - it is part of my prepps. My first order of business was to establish my HF base station while simultaneously studying for my license.

Only After these two issues were accomplished & established, and I began making contacts, did I begin to I branch out. As I said previously - I have a "comms case" in two of my three vehicles. Inside each case is a combo 10m-CB radio/10m dipole antenna, 100' of rope/paracord, 50' of RG213U coax cable, and a Baofeng 2m HT.

If you're decided on going VHF/UHF - selecting a good radio, like those Gil mentioned, is paramount. I would just be concerned that you would be severely lacking for long range communication. Your plan definitely covers local communication - but it doesn't seem to cover getting/sending a transmission outside your locality - is this a concern?
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

White Tiger

Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 01:27:55 am
It's a good thing for me you are familiar with so many models.  I don't want a base that can't talk to a HT.  With Yaesu FT-2900R at each end do you think I'd have a shot at making my 30 mile Simplex connection, given adequate antennas?  It looks like it has the Duplex feature I need to use the repeaters.
The Icom 271A/H is also a great multi mode radio. I picked up Gil (he was using his 271) on my UV-3R about 2-3 miles from his house. Although I'm not sure he could hear my signal until I was about a mile away.
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

Geek

Quote from: White Tiger on February 16, 2013, 01:38:52 am
Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 12:07:14 am
Thanks.  The antennas can be high and the map shows I should have line of sight.  I will need a radio at each end just to get started.  I figured HTs could be a starting point and then be either handed down to other family members or placed in vehicles.  So it now sounds like I need two base stations to establish the link I want.  The MFJ-9402 was recommended.  If I have one of those at each end I would think there would be no problem with a repeater and I might get a Simplex connection, or I might need to work with antennas to get things working right.

If that sounds right to the folks here, then I would consider buying one now, listening while I am studying for the test, then buying the other and setting the second location and testing.  Does this make sense?
I think using a 2m HT is a good approach just for local/2-3 mile range - it is part of my prepps. My first order of business was to establish my HF base station while simultaneously studying for my license.

Only After these two issues were accomplished & established, and I began making contacts, did I begin to I branch out. As I said previously - I have a "comms case" in two of my three vehicles. Inside each case is a combo 10m-CB radio/10m dipole antenna, 100' of rope/paracord, 50' of RG213U coax cable, and a Baofeng 2m HT.

If you're decided on going VHF/UHF - selecting a good radio, like those Gil mentioned, is paramount. I would just be concerned that you would be severely lacking for long range communication. Your plan definitely covers local communication - but it doesn't seem to cover getting/sending a transmission outside your locality - is this a concern?


At this point I am not concerned about communicating with the world at large, but with being able to communicate with my family.  They are within that 30 mile distance I mentioned.  Note that we've been through a variety of disasters, most recently Hurricane Sandy which knocked out power (wired and cell), phone service, Internet, etc.  You couldn't even go anywhere because of downed trees.  I was pretty comfortable at home with my generator, but I couldn't check on my family.  Just having a bit of comms would have allowed us to assure each other we were all okay.

The plan at the moment is to get this one link going and to get through the test.  Once that's done, we can add nodes to our network, and I can help those in my family that are interested get through the licensing.  When the entire group is up and running, then I might worry about outside the area.

I realize that most of those here are into HAM radio, in addition to having an interest in prepping.  However, I've been experiencing a variety of disasters of varying proportions, most recently Hurricane Sandy.  As a result, I am really coming at communications from a prepper direction.  I can easily imagine getting licensed, accumulating communications gear, testing all the connections, and then storing the equipment until disaster strikes again.


gil

February 16, 2013, 11:42:52 am #108 Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 11:46:19 am by gil
QuoteWith Yaesu FT-2900R at each end do you think I'd have a shot at making my 30 mile Simplex connection, given adequate antennas?  It looks like it has the Duplex feature I need to use the repeaters.


It does, and yes, I think it would work. I am no VHF FM expert though, so you might want to verify that... I don't use 2m much at all... 30 miles is pretty far for line-of-sight.

Gil.

Geek

I realize you can't guarantee that any particular combination will work.  You aren't here, and it needs to be tested anyhow.  What I am trying to do is just figure out the best place to start.  If I try this and it goes 25 miles, but fails at 30, I'm not going to blame anyone.

Given that would you suggest a different band or does 2m make sense?

gil

QuoteGiven that would you suggest a different band or does 2m make sense?


It think it is your safest best and a good start. Everyone needs 2m anyway. You can try HF later after you solve your 30 miles challenge...

Gil.

Geek

Thanks!  I think I will now get a Yaesu 2m radio, start listening, and in particular see if I can pick up some of the repeaters in the area.  Once I get the license, if it still seems promising, I can get a second radio and place it at the place 30 miles away and make a test.  If I can be heard at that end, then we're in business and just need to add licenses and radios at each home.

Geek

Now it looks like the unit is DC only.  It isn't clear if an AC adapter comes with it so I can use it in the house.  Do I need a power adapter and if so anyone care to recommend one?

WA4STO

Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 03:13:08 pm
Now it looks like the unit is DC only.  It isn't clear if an AC adapter comes with it so I can use it in the house.  Do I need a power adapter and if so anyone care to recommend one?


Yes, a great many of today's radios are 12 volts only.

That's a good thing.  Good, because it makes the radios a lot smaller.  Good, because they work from SHTF-able power sources.  Good, because you have options.

As to your question, there are a number of options.  First, if you look at your user's/owner's manual, it will tell you what the current draw is for that radio.  In my case, my Icom IC-7000 is a one hundred watt radio so it requires a much larger power supply than your radio does.  In my case, I utilize an MFJ-4225MV power supply like this:



But there's a big problem with my use of this power supply.  Can you guess what that is?  Hint: I'm a prepper...

You might ask yourself if a bug-out location is in your plans.  If so, you're likely to be using deep cycle batteries.  Bingo! 

In fact, I use both the power supply shown above during normal times AND I have a fairly hefty amount of battery power available and it would take me about zero time to switch to SHTF power.

OK, there are other options.  If you determine that you need, say ten amps of current at 13 volts, you could opt for something like these:

http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=search&category=DSW-138&type=radio&showall=1

Still, if you're going to put that much cash into a power supply, why not spend more and get something that will power the radio during and well after SHTF?

Oh!  And don't forget, your 12 volt radio works just fine in the car...

Best 73

Luck, WA4STO



Geek

I not only have a generator, but I also have spares for each electronic part in the generator, so if I don't have power, . . .  I ordered the MFJ product.  It looks like exactly what I need indoors.  Thanks.

WA4STO

Yes, it's a good product and it will cover your 12 volt needs pretty well.

There's something else (there always is...) that you might consider.  And that's the fusing of your various 12 volt gizmos.

Now it may be that your radio already has a nice fuse in it.  But some of your stuff, as you go along, will not.  Now would be a great time to consider how you're going to distribute the 12 volt lines from your MFJ to the various 12 volt thingies.

Here's what I use.



These are fused coming OUT of the MFJ power supply as well as fused going TO your radios.

Notice the red/black connectors.  Those are known as "anderson power pole" connectors and they have become an industry standard among most amateur radio groups:



In my case, I have a couple of things that wouldn't otherwise be protected by fuses:

1.  A muffin fan that serves to cool the final transistors on my IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF rig.  Cooler is always better, except when it comes to women.

2.  A little 12 volt light inside of my HF antenna tuner.

Putting a fuse in line with everything keeps the well-known "smoke test" from failing.  You do know about smoke tests, right?  It goes along with the notion that every little (and not so little) electronic thingie contains smoke, sometimes hidden very deep inside.  Do things wrong, and darned if that smoke won't escape.  Sometimes dramatically.

73 de WA4STO

Geek

Sounds like a good idea.  Where do I get one and what size fuse should I be using for my one and only indoor 12v device?

raybiker73

Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 03:21:03 am
I can easily imagine getting licensed, accumulating communications gear, testing all the connections, and then storing the equipment until disaster strikes again.


You'd be surprised how quickly it becomes something you want to do every day, disaster or not.  :)

Frosty

Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 02:27:27 pm
Thanks!  I think I will now get a Yaesu 2m radio, start listening, and in particular see if I can pick up some of the repeaters in the area.  Once I get the license, if it still seems promising, I can get a second radio and place it at the place 30 miles away and make a test.  If I can be heard at that end, then we're in business and just need to add licenses and radios at each home.


Like Gil said, 30 miles is a long way for 2m FM. I can hit a repeater with a 120' antenna at about that distance with my FT2900R using 10w, but only get about 15 miles base to mobile (bumper mount antenna) even at 75w across mostly flat terrain.  LOS is everything, if there's a hill in the way it won't go 3 miles (in my experience). 

I like the rigs themselves, and the ARTS function makes it easy to test range.  If your local public safety hasn't moved to a digital system, then they can double as scanners too.  Open it up with the MARS/CAP mod, and there's even more SHTF options.  With some homework and time spent scanning/listening now, and with a prearranged plan with your group, a true geek shouldn't have a problem making contact during the confusion of a SHTF event. :) 

Geek

Quote from: Frosty on February 17, 2013, 09:23:28 am
Quote from: Geek on February 16, 2013, 02:27:27 pm
Thanks!  I think I will now get a Yaesu 2m radio, start listening, and in particular see if I can pick up some of the repeaters in the area.  Once I get the license, if it still seems promising, I can get a second radio and place it at the place 30 miles away and make a test.  If I can be heard at that end, then we're in business and just need to add licenses and radios at each home.


Like Gil said, 30 miles is a long way for 2m FM. I can hit a repeater with a 120' antenna at about that distance with my FT2900R using 10w, but only get about 15 miles base to mobile (bumper mount antenna) even at 75w across mostly flat terrain.  LOS is everything, if there's a hill in the way it won't go 3 miles (in my experience). 

I like the rigs themselves, and the ARTS function makes it easy to test range.  If your local public safety hasn't moved to a digital system, then they can double as scanners too.  Open it up with the MARS/CAP mod, and there's even more SHTF options.  With some homework and time spent scanning/listening now, and with a prearranged plan with your group, a true geek shouldn't have a problem making contact during the confusion of a SHTF event. :)


Ive got Line of Sight, so we are good there.  What is the ARTS function and what is the MARS/CAP mod?

What I am figuring is I will test this and see if it works between the two houses that are the greatest distance apart.  It is slightly less than 30 miles LOS and slightly more by the road.  If it doesn't work then I will determine whether to work with differing antennas, or move to another band.  I feel good about this choice because even if it doesn't work for 30 miles I can probably use the units in vehicles or for some of the houses at lesser distances.